First, I forgot an important detail from yesterday. As we walked to the first church, luggage and all, we were passing a number of small shops. And what did my eyes spy? You got it – a yarn store!!! It took all of my will power to keep walking but it was very exciting!
Now on to Day 2. The forecast called for rain in the afternoon so we switched plans around. The caves in the mountains where Francis prayed are about 4.5 kilometers out of town, uphill. A couple of us decided to taxi it. We left 1/2 hour after the hikers and passed them on the road, they hot and tired. Then we saw how much further they had to go and we knew we would be waiting for them for awhile.
Some days you just know you made the right decision and today was one of those days. Gianpaolo was a great driver and and blasted the AC. For those familiar with old medieval towns you will know the roads are extremely narrow and winding and, in Assisi, full of tourists and motorbikes. It is crazy!
Once up at the caves it is serenity and peace everywhere you look and the views of the Umbrian countryside go on forever. There is a tiny church built around the cave believed to be the one Francis used and then there are paths all around the mountainside. I hung around the entrance to wait for our walkers and it was interesting to see all the people arriving – it was clear who had walked and who had been in a car.
We picked up one more passenger for the ride down and by that time we were all starving. We grabbed some lunch and then had a siesta.
Post siesta we headed for San Domiano. This is the church St. Francis rebuilt and it is the place where St. Clare started her order of nuns and where she died. It was another subtle, simple church as would be expected. From there we went to the church of San Rufino. He was a saint at the time of Francis. The ruins of the original church can be seen under plexiglass panels in the floor. They were also having a display of paintings of JPII. They were very interesting and we learned later the artist used ground up stone, eggs, animal bile and other natural colors. Who knew?
We did some shopping and then went to our last dinner in Assisi. We finished late and I was going to go back the room without gelato but was dragged out by the priest and the nun traveling with us. While we were out there was a group playing games in the square and it seemed like everyone was joining in, it was fun to watch!
Finally it was time for bed. Off to France tomorrow!